Asian Ecology Section of the Ecological Society of America

Volume 1, No. 1, January 1997

Dear members of the Asian Ecology Section,

The Asian Ecology Section of ESA is still very young, only two years old, but it has achieved much since its inception. Because of the strong support from each of you and the hard work of many, particularly the early organizers and section leaders, the section has been growing constantly. Now the total membership of the section reaches 129. At the 1996 ESA annual meeting, the section successfully organized its first symposium on Asian ecological issues. It has also helped to establish and strengthen connections between ESA members and their colleagues in Asian countries. The rapid development of ecological science, the challenge of the environment problems from local to global scales calls for collaborations among ecologists everywhere in the world. The Asian Ecology Section of ESA will work hard to promote these collaborations. This is the first newsletter of the section which will be periodically published from now on to keep you informed about the section’s affairs. Thank you for your support and participation.

Paul Mou and Ting Dai

(Chair and Secretary of the Asian Ecology Section)


1. Election of New Chair and Secretary. At the section business meeting during the ESA annual meeting in Providence, RI, August, 1996, Dr. Xinyuan Wu of Texas A & M University and Dr. Dennis S. Ojima of Colorado State University were nominated and willing to run for the section chair of 1997-98. Dr. Xiaoming Zou of University of Puerto Rico, and Dr. Shuijin Hu of UC Berkeley were nominated and willing to run for the section secretary of 1997-98. Their short CVs are attached with the ballot. Please vote! Votes must be received by Feb. 28, 1997. Send your vote either through e-mail to, or, or return the ballot by normal mail to:

Dr. Ting Dai, Department of Biological Sciences, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary, Gloucester Point, VA 23062, USA, or

Dr. Paul P. Mou, Department of Forestry, College of Wildlife and Forest Resources, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0324, USA

2. Asian Ecology Section Annual Report. During 1995-1996, the Asian Ecology Section worked very closely with the ESA’s International Relation Committee and the International Affairs Section to organize a symposium at the 1996 ESA annual meeting. The symposium, entitled "Current and Emerging Ecological and Environmental Issues in Asia", was approved by the ESA, and eight speakers from different countries and regions (Hong Kong, China, the U.S., Puerto Rico and Korea) were invited. These speakers presented various topics on Asian ecological studies, introduced environmental organizations and projects in Asian countries, and demonstrated the potential for international ecological societies to do collaborative ecological research in Asia. The symposium attracted many ESA members and was a success.

To facilitate the speakers from outside the U.S. in attending the symposium, the Section Chair, Dr. Jiquan Chen, sent the speakers the invitation letters and visa application forms from Michigan Technological University and helped them to get the information for the 1996 ESA annual meeting in Providence, RI. A social evening was also held for further contact and discussion among the speakers and other interested parties at the meeting.

In the Section meeting during the 1996 ESA annual meeting, Dr. Paul Mou of the Virginia Tech was elected as the Chair, and Dr. Ting Dai of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science was elected as the Secretary for the 1996-1997 term of the Section.

In the future, the Section will continue to support the symposiums on Asian issues at the ESA annual meeting, to promote activities to increase the awareness of ecological studies in Asia, and to bridge ecological communities between the two continents.

(Yude Pan, former Secretary of the Asian Ecology Section)

3. Symposium Proposal Approved. The symposium proposal "Accelerated Changes in Asian Ecosystems: the Consequences of Human Actions and Economic Development" proposed by Drs. Yude Pan, Paul P. Mou and J. A. Melillo has been approved by the ESA program committee. The symposium will be held at 1997 ESA annual meeting in Albuquerque, NM. The following is the excerpt from the proposal:


(for 1997 Annual Meeting, Albuquerque, New Mexico)

Recently an increasing number of ESA members have expanded their research interests into Asia. This summer, a symposium was held at the ESA Annual Meeting in Providence, RI, that focused upon current as well as emerging ecological and environmental issues in Asia. That symposium was well received by the audience. A follow-up symposium would greatly benefit ESA members, and improve exchange of information between North American and Asian ecologists. We thus propose a symposium focusing on ecological consequences of human actions and economic development in Asia at the 1997 ESA annual meeting.

"Changing Ecosystems: Natural and Human Influences", the theme of the 1997 ESA Annual Meeting, reflects several crucial concerns. As a result of human activities, ecosystems have been changing at an unprecedented rate and scale. The consequences of human impacts, including increase of greenhouse gases, ozone depletion, pollution, deforestation, soil erosion, urbanization, and habitat fragmentation, have changed patterns of climate, biogeochemical cycles, landscapes, and disturbed structures, functions, and biodiversity of many ecosystems. It is a great challenge for ecologists to understand these diverse changes in ecosystem structure and function, and to seek comprehensive protection and management approaches.

With a long history of land use and huge populations (>50% of the world population), Asian ecosystems, especially those in China and India, have been profoundly perturbed by past human activities. The recent increased pace of social and economic development, combined with the huge growing populations in many Asian countries, are inevitably exacerbating the collisions between expanding human demands and fragile ecosystems. Asia is the largest land mass on earth. Drastic change in Asia on such a broad scale will have unprecedented impacts on the global environment. Studies of global ecological and environmental problems will not be fruitful if Asian issues are ignored.

The proposed symposium will provide an opportunity for the invited experts to address a broad spectrum of ecological and environmental issues in Asia. Presentations will discuss studies on: 1) emission of trace gases in agriculture systems and their effects on the global climate; 2) changes in land-use, land cover, and their impacts on biogeochemical cycles; 3) conservation of biodiversity and nature; 4) economic growth and its ecological consequences resulting from energy consumption, pollution, natural resource depletion, and overpopulation; and 5) environmental assessments for sustainable urban developments. These scholars have worked in different Asian countries, and will share their experiences and deep understanding of their expertise with us.

(Yude Pan1 , Paul Mou2, and Jerry M. Melillo1. 1The Ecosystems Center, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA; 2Department of Forestry, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA)

Of Interest:

1. The World Bank recently published a technical paper entitled "Freshwater biodiversity in Asia, with special reference to Fish" (Kottelat & whitten 1996). The paper was intended to raise the awareness of the current status of Asian freshwater biodiversity, as well as the threats affecting the integrity of Asian freshwater ecosystems. For receiving a copy, please contact Maria Isabel Braga through email at "" or fax at (202) 522-1664.

(Jiquan Chen, Michigan Tech University)

2. The ESA offers 3-year grants of journal subscriptions, including current and back issues, to libraries in developing countries as a means to encourage the world-wide growth of ecological studies, foster the spread of information about recent ecological research, encourage collaborations among ecologists in different parts of the world, and enhance the opportunity for colleagues in countries with limited financial resources to further their education. These grants are for periods of 3 years, at the end of which libraries may re-apply, but are encouraged to seek alternative funds to support their subscriptions. Evidence of commitment by cost sharing of the subscription will be considered as an advantage by the evaluating board, but will not be the primary selection criterion.

Funds for these grants are derived from contributions by members of the ESA, and therefore, only a limited number are available. Criteria for the selection of libraries to receive the grants include: a) Evidence that the library is a stable institution and serves individuals who are actively pursuing research or education in ecology; b) evidence that the journals will be readily available to students and researchers who would benefit from them; c) evidence that alternative funds to support subscriptions to the Society’s journals are not available; and d) evidence that the grant will enhance the ecological training and research of a significant number of scientists. An additional factor is the geographic distribution of current grant recipients.

Please contact Dr. Mary Barber of ESA headquarters for requesting application form at: ESA, 2010 Massachusetts Ave., NW Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036, Phone: (202) 833-8773, e-mail:

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